Patronage Poetry in the English Renaissance

(3097 words)
  • Judith Marie Campbell Owens (University of Manitoba )

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,” declared Samuel Johnson, stout proponent of eighteenth-century letters.(1) To twenty-first century sensibilities, which suppose serious authorship to be motivated by higher aims, writing for money amounts to selling out. But Johnson is distinguishing writing for money from aristocratic patronage, not from post-Romantic assumptions about authorial inspiration. As Michael Brennan observes in his Literary Patronage in the English Renaissance, the “ambitious writer” in the England of 1550 to 1650 “was expected to keep a sharp eye out for prospective patrons,” because literary writing as the sole means of livelihood was not an option in this period. (2) …

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Owens, Judith Marie Campbell. "Patronage Poetry in the English Renaissance". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 March 2008
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Renaissance and Humanism